Spirituality or Futility? #8

Friday, November 10, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

God sent the Apostle Paul to us Gentiles to give us the Dispensation of the Grace of God, or Jesus Christ’s heavenly ministry (Ephesians 3:1-9). From Heaven, not Earth, Christ is speaking today. In this dispensation, God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, a heavenly people whom He has blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are not the nation Israel; God is not finished with Israel. She will rise again after our dispensation (Romans 11:1-36)!

We are saved by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins (Romans 3:23–4:8)—apart from any works of any kind. Upon believing the Gospel of the Grace of God, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13,14). We need no water (or any other) ceremony to “enhance” our Christian life. God gave us a new nature in Christ, power that produces good works and gives us victory over sin (Romans 6:1-23). The Law serves no purpose in our life because God’s grace teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,” and “to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11,12,14). Jesus Christ died to put away sin, so we put it away in our life. Our hope is not God’s earthly kingdom (Israel’s hope) but rather His heavenly kingdom (Ephesians 2:6,7; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Romans is the most basic Book for this dispensation. It outlines justification, how to have a right standing before God. Therein we also discover sanctification, how God has set apart believers to do His will. Moreover, we see Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. Finally, there are basic but specific grace principles for everyday living. Three useful Pauline passages are Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3.

We study all the Bible, but anything other than Pauline doctrine and duty is but futility!

Filled with the Fruits of Righteousness

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV).

“Fruits” are “the results of work or activity.” Who exactly is working?

Works-religion parading as “Christianity” has led us to believe that Christian living involves us making ourselves holy by working to keep rules and regulations. However, the Bible says Christian living is “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” This is not self-righteousness, what religion produces. It is not artificial or superficial righteousness, what religion generates.

Nay, it is true righteousness, a new (righteous) nature in Christ and its resultant actions. First Corinthians chapter 1, verse 30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:….” If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we share His identity—He is our wisdom, He is our righteousness, He is our sanctification (holiness), and He is our redemption (freedom from sin). From Him springs forth our righteousness. From Him working in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, righteousness abounds in our hearts and lives.

First Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” Ephesians 3:16 says: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;….” Finally, Galatians chapter 5: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” There is the life of Christ, friend, in its fullness, available by daily faith in Him… something religion can never produce!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘excellent’ a ‘mistranslation’ in Philippians 1:10 in the King James Bible?

Prophecy, Peter, Paul, Postponement, and Preservation

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:9,15,16 KJV).

The prophetic program has been paused for nearly 20 centuries. Why?

Romans chapter 11 says: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery [secret], lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:….”

After our Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture—the Church the Body of Christ completed and caught up into Heaven—Israel’s prophetic program will resume where it stopped in early Acts. Israel’s spiritual blindness will finally be lifted and she will return to her preeminent national status in the Earth. Her Little Flock of believers will read today’s Scripture and the Pauline epistles. Where has their kingdom program been for the last 2,000 years?

Today’s Scripture demonstrates the preservation of the Holy Bible. Not only will Peter’s inspired writings exist beyond our dispensation, but even Paul’s epistles will be read in the end-times. Israel’s believing remnant will look back on us—God’s work amongst the Gentiles apart from the kingdom program—and know just why their believing ancestors in Acts never saw Christ returning to judge His enemies and bring that literal, physical, visible, earthly, Davidic kingdom!

Exercising prudence, the Holy Spirit penned today’s Scripture not merely to answer scoffers (whether A.D. first century, or beyond our dispensation). He also purposed to enlighten curious believers in the Jewish program (whether A.D. first century, or beyond our dispensation).

Light Bulbs and Lenses #10

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Dear friends, in this world of intensifying spiritual darkness, God’s Word rightly divided provides us great light. Yea, in this world of increasing obscurity, we can be blessed with great understanding from God’s words dispensationally understood. For us English-speaking people, the rightly divided King James Bible is a brilliant beacon in these times of abounding uncertainty, mass confusion, and widespread ignorance.

The Holy Spirit will teach us using the Holy Bible, provided that we pay special attention to His words spoken through the Apostle Paul. First Corinthians 2:13 says, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” And, 2 Timothy 2:7: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Finally, today’s Scripture: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

Dear brethren, as we let God’s grace teach us, we are, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;…” (Titus 2:13). The earthly life we have in Christ now will continue into eternity future, the heavenly places. God the Holy Spirit illuminates us about this and other important Christian truths, as Ephesians chapter 1 says: “[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,….”

In light of Pauline revelation, we understand that we are the Church the Body of Christ, never to be confused with the nation Israel. We are under grace, not law, thus free to walk in the victorious identity given us in Christ. Sin does not have to reign over us. We can enjoy God’s life, now and forever. As long as we respond positively to the spiritual light we have, God will honor that and give us more… light… bright… lenses… sight! 🙂

Light Bulbs and Lenses #1

Monday, September 25, 2017

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psalm 119:130 KJV).

Light… bright… lenses… sight!

Second Corinthians chapter 4 says: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan blinds people by using the spiritual darkness of works-religion. However, when God’s words enter the soul, there is light. Verse 6 says: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Today’s Scripture says God’s words give “understanding unto the simple.”

The word “simple” here means “silly, foolish, seducible.” In other words, this uninformed person is actually naïve, believing anything and everything heard. The soul has not been grounded in God’s Word rightly divided, so it is vulnerable to constant major shifts in thought and belief. Imagine someone spending an entire lifetime jumping from religious group to religious group to religious group, or bouncing from theological idea to theological idea to theological idea. This was never God’s intention.

In the A.D. first century, God the Holy Spirit gave the Church the Body of Christ gifted men who wrote, collected, copied, and distributed the completed canon of Scripture. Their ministries culminated in the Holy Bible that we have preserved today (in English, it is the King James Bible). God did this, “[12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:…. [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;…” (Ephesians chapter 4).

Since God’s words give light, and they give understanding to the simple, God gave us those words in a written and preserved form. Alas, much darkness remains, until the soul walks in the light that he or she has….

Deflate Yourself and Edify Others #5

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth (1 Corinthians 8:1 KJV).

Ignorance can be very dangerous—knowledge can be equally detrimental!

First Corinthians chapter 8 closes with: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” The Apostle Paul knew more rightly divided Scripture than any of us Christians alive today. He could have been “puffed up.” Nevertheless, he was meek, exercising “charity” to “edify” other believers.

Paul the Apostle, God’s “pattern” for us in the Dispensation of Grace, practiced what he preached. He was very careful not (NOT!, NOT!) to selfishly use his liberty under grace as an excuse to do anything and everything he wanted. If the action could potentially discourage another Christian and destroy his edification process, Paul said he would never (NEVER!, NEVER!) engage in the behavior. In the case of today’s Scripture, it was food offered to idols. Still, the principle of charity should guide every aspect of our Christian life.

Galatians 5:13 again: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Rather than being “puffed up” in knowledge, we should remember “charity edifieth” (today’s Scripture). Romans 14:19 says: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” To “edify” means “to build up” or “strengthen” (as opposed to tearing down, “destroying”—Romans 14:15). The weaker brother needs strengthening rather than further weakening (1 Corinthians 8:9-12), and strengthening will result if the stronger brother sets the example of charity.

Pride is “the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6): it caused Lucifer to fall and become Satan. Satanic behavior does not belong in the Christian’s life. Galatians 5:22,23 tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The Spirit of God works in the believer to produce “meekness,” deflating the prideful soul. He also produces “love,” which leads to “charity,” which causes the “edification” of others! 🙂

Day By Day

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).

Will Bible reading on Sunday suffice for the week? Today’s Scripture says absolutely not!

A friend in the ministry related a story of encountering a very strange man. After he delivered his sermon, the man came to him and wanted to argue with him about Scripture. When my friend asked him where his Bible was, he said that he did not own one! How was he going to discuss Scripture with my friend who had a Bible, if he did not even have his own personal copy? As it turned out, he said that he had heard the Bible preached all his life, so he did not need to have one for himself. He “knew” what it said because he “remembered” what he had heard preachers say what it said! (That is faulty on so many levels!)

It is a common idea that the Christian can go to church on Sunday, let the minister read from and teach the Bible, and have no further need for “Bible study” until the next weekend. This is exactly why there is so much Bible ignorance and spiritual immaturity in the professing church. There is so much reliance on ministers—and they are often not even reading and/or teaching verses properly! Furthermore, one day of Bible reading a week is spiritual starvation.

Friends, our inward man must be renewed “day by day” (today’s Scripture). Ephesians 4:23 says we need to be “renewed in the spirit of [our] mind.” Romans 12:2 amplifies: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” If the Scriptures are not renewing our mind “day by day,” we are being “conformed to this world” every day. There is no power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives because there is no doctrine for Him to use. Every day, we are taking in all the information the evil world system wants to teach us. We must have sound Bible doctrine—“day by day” Bible study—to win that battle between truth and error!